I started growing orchids in March of 1980 on a dare from my wife, Conni. She hails from Los Angles, California. She said her aunt grew orchids so I should be able to. She didn't like the cacti that I had on the kitchen window sill.
In the beginning, I purchased a phalaenopsis seedling at a local nursery, (it was from Zuma Canyon Orchids). I checked out all the orchid books at our local library, 3 books total, and then went out and purchased more books.
About a month later, I read in the local paper “For Sale-Orchid Collection-$60”. It included 23 plants and a fluorescent fixture. I was well on my way.
I guess the first exposure I had to the Odontoglossum family was from an old American Orchid Society Bulletin, where I saw a photo of a display put on by Artur Elle. The wonderful colors and patterns and the large frilly flowers were simply amazing! I just had to have some of these! Of course, when I asked older more experienced growers in our local society, the answer was, “You can't grow them here!” The gauntlet was dropped!
Eventually, (I don't remember how), I came to know someone who was ordering plants from Dr. Wally Thomas of British Columbia. They gave me a 2 or 3 page listing which, to my delight, included Odontiodas and even pure line bred Odontoglossum crispums! I beleave I ordered 3 plants. I couldn't wait for their arrival. They were just seedlings, but still they were Odontoglossum types.
Soon after this, I came across Bob Dugger's address and immediately wrote him. He responded and sent a flask list. As it turned out Conni and I, along with our 2 year old daughter, were going to visit family in Los Angeles. So I arranged a trip to Bob's home near San Deigo. I was awestruck! He had just a small greenhouse, but had produced so many fine hybrids. I visited for about 3 hours. I left with 3 purchased flasks and 2 gift flasks. (Bob was always very generous). One of these flasks was Wilsonara Comitan. These where wonderful growers and earned me 2 AMs and 1 HCC. I was reeled in, hook line and sinker! I purchased many, many more flasks from Bob over the years and he would always include a freebie or two.
But my very first Odontoglossum Alliance award came from a plant that I purchased at a local orchid show around 1983. It was a Wilsonara Hamburhen Stern (Onc. Tigrinum x Oda. Lippestern), a cross registered by Arutur Elle in 1976. I selected this blooming size plant from a group of about 25 plants. When it received its AM of 85 points on April 2, 1988, it had 17 flowers and 3 buds on 3 inflorescences. That was an inflorescence from each side of the lead bulb and one from the top of the bulb! I've never been able to repeat this with any plant since.
I currently have, (a wild guess), 1500 blooming size Odontoglossum types and about 500 seedlings, (many of my own hybridizing).
To this day the many colors and patterns continue to amaze and intrigue me.
I just love the plants of the Odontoglossum Alliance.